CEO's are like politicians, if their lips are moving, they are spinning the truth. I will not go so far as to say that he is lieing, but even this short article reveals that the Fiat 500e is only going to be sold in CA. So if it is not a "compliance vehicle" why not expand the market as large as possible. Has anyone noticed that Suzuki cars is dead? Why? They had few dealerships and no market penetration. If these guys are serious about the future of electric vehicles, market them nationwide! We are always hearing about economy of scale. Then scale it up!
Maybe the CEO is right, they cannot make a profit on them so now they simply make enough to remain compliant. Then they turn around and market their real profit vehicles, trucks and luxury vehicles! But hey the Viper is coming back!!! Rich people in CA want to buy that, so then Chrysler needs to be compliant to sell in CA.
GT, oho, they are introducing the vehicle only to CA market. Any idea, when they are planning to introduce to other US markets. I think, they are introducing only a limited edition to CA for a market review or to collect user feedbacks.
GT, I think you've pegged it. At least for now, the 500e appears to be a compliance car. It is also most likely a learning excercise. A necessary, but unprofitable step on the road to the future. I doubt they expect to sell more than a handful of cars. Perhaps a totally new EV design is in the works at Fiat.
Nobody seems to get the point that if this is "a learning exercise" for Chrysler engineers, then how many potential customers will pay good money to become a guinea pig or lab rat? I vividly remember the "second generation" Fiat 500 Nuovo from the late '50s. A truly wretched tiny car (actually an enclosed motorcycle, 2-seater with 1.5 HP 2-cylinder air-cooled engine complete with a cable clutch). Topped out at 59mph with a strong tailwind and a 100 lb. driver!
Quite a few people decided to be guineapigs for the EV1. Not enough for GM to turn a profit from them, but more than enough for a learning exercise. I'm not sure why you're comparing the current Fiat 500 to the one from the '50s. It's like comparing the current Beetle to the original Type 1 with the 1100cc engine. They are very different cars. The fist generation Prius was tiny and slow compared to the later more successful cars. If I were to judge the current Prius by the original, I would say they aren't worth driving.
I wasn't comparing the actual cars! Just pointing out the fact that (as another poster said just before you) Fiat doesn't exactly have an illustrious history in North America. I've owned a lot of quirky cars (including TWO different Renaults in the '50s/'60s time frame, a Dauphine and an R10)) but never a Fiat after my experience with that 500 my buddy had. Don't forget, some of the worst cars of the Soviet era were licensed versions of Fiats (Lada, Trabant, etc.). The whole point of most of this discussion is whether Fiat intended this car to just satisfy the CA bureaucrats that it fulfills the zero-emission mandate, or if they really expect to sell a bunch. MY point is that if they intended the latter, they are out of touch with the marketplace, just like GM and the Volt. Even if you just buy/license technology from your competition, it takes a huge investment to bring one of these to fruition. As a niche vehicle instead of a mass-market one, it just doesn't make sense.
Not a single company MUST be compliant in California, they have more than few options, like BUY ZEV credits (Honda bought them from TESLA) pay "fines" of $5,000 per missing each mandated credit (BMW, Daimler do just that) or sell NEV's at 0.3 credits for each (Ford and Chrysler used to do that).
So selling FIAT 500e at reported $16,000 loss per vehicle is just plain crazy, so either the Chrysler bean counters are not able to add things up, or Mr. Marchionne just plain puts out "false" information, or ???
Companies like ZAP, Wheego, Aptera, CODA, Miles, etc. are already out of business thrying to EV the world - Detroit Electric, Fisker, and even TESLA are doomed as they can never be profitable.
TESLA of course is great stock gamble achievemet, but all pyramid chema games eventually collapse, as current stock holders will run out of people willing to pay MORE for the stock that pays ZERO dividend for company that will never be profitable.
Only VOLT and LEAF may "survive" only because the big companies can afford to support them with conventional vehicle sales.
But the $199 FIAT lease ALMOST makes a financial sense, if you do not drive much and do not have to buy gasoline then as per TESLA "accounting" it is actually a FREE ride !!!
All you have to do is to live in California to be able to get one.....
Cap'n, as far as electric vehicles (and to some extent hybrids) go, it is important to have a design that is appropriate for the technology. The first successful hybrid, the Prius, was a totally new design. I recently saw an original one, by the way. It is TINY! The car was going 55 in the right lane on an Interstate with a 65 MPH speed limit. There was a long line behind it. It looked so antiquated.
The 500 is an old model designation for Fiat. I have an Italian engineer friend who had one in Milan when he was young. When the 500 first came out in the US I asked him if he was going to get one. His response was along the lines of are you kidding?
It is interesting as far as the 500e goes that they worked on the aerodynamics, but not the weight. A curb weight of 2,980 lbs is not light. It must be due to the battery. On the other hand, why are more composites not used in the body? That would also extend the range.
The battery is 24-kWh and is made up of 97 lithium-ion cells, naperlou, so, yes, it's big. It does use some composite materials, according to the press materials, but it's not clear yet where the composites will be used.
The constant stress I have to keep my phone charges, will soon apply to my car. I have to say, I am not looking forward to that. I'm hoping that wireless power transfer options will be prevalent when EVs are affordable to most people. (IE: see Witricity)
Also, 80 mile range is great for a zip-car style rental service, but I shy away from that for a regular car. I'd say at least 150 is target. Anyone here have an EV?
Cabe, you've raised a point that is seldom brought up. Right now, the owners of EVs tend to be early adopters who seem to have no issues with re-charging their cars. But will all consumers have the necessary patience to deal with the required recharging times?
Charles... this ease/safety of charging is always at the top of my list as to why the average American driver will not be going big in the near future on anything that requires a plug-in to be cost and fuel efficient.
This is the infrastructure that will take longest and be the most expensive to put in place too by my accounting.
Current PEV charging technology is not going to lead to the same quick pull into Wawa for coffee and be fully charged by the time I get to the cashier as is the case with petroleum, but it does need to become convenient... and at least a little forgiving of those 'I forgot to fill up/charge' moments (what ever that means, the tow truck gas can replaced by a small rental battery pack I guess).
I live within a major metro area, and drive a vehicle that drops from its highway 24MPG down to 16MPG in stop-and-go driving, the only kind I do most weeks I'd love an EV. I always know ahead of time if there's any chance I'll drive 80 miles in a day (it's rare), or even 40. A pure-electric car with 80 mile range would be perfect for me, 150 would be dragging around a heavier battery than I have any use for most of the time. My two kids and a spouse could also use an 80-mile range, as they all work and live near downtown. It couldn't be our only car, but it could be our daily-driver.
OTOH, if I forgot to charge the battery, it is possible that I'd get in the car and not have enough charge to use it that day. Would it be worth paying the money and mass for a bigger battery to dodge that problem? To prevent forgetting, I'd probably build a simple alarm that went off if the car entered the garage and wasn't plugged in within a short period of time, or if I could unobtrusively measure charge, sent me an email and text message if the car was in the garage and the charge was below some threshold (easy these days, with WiFi-capable Linux computers costing under $50).
It would be nice to have an inductive charger on the garage floor so you didn't have to plug it in. That'll come, but there'll be an energy loss associated with it (eddy losses), so it's not necessarily free. But if it's only a few percent, it might be worth the cost.
Nadine, some days ago Ann posted a slide-show featuring selected EVs and hybrids from the Paris Auto Show. These were definitely "mean rides" as my grandkids would say. Beautiful futuristic cars with style. Also, some months ago Charles had a great slide show featuring the Tesla. I think in the long run, the EVs and hybrids that do not complete style-wise will be doomed. I have to agree with you with the Chrysler Roll-out. U-G-L-Y.
Charles, finally Fiat also joints with the EV sector by introducing Fiat 500e. Any test drive result data sheet is available for reference. What about the market opinion and how fiat is distinguishing their product from other competitors.
The value and success will depend on the price. If it was priced commensurate with a no-frills economy car, then it might have a chance. As a $40K or whatever showroom ornament and enviro-weenie status symbol, it's DOA.
If it's like any other BEV out there today, the CEO is only half lying. It's a compliance car *and* it will never turn a profit.
First, I'm not buying your comments and the contrarian view today would be one arguing in favor of electric given the environmental ignorance being perpetrated on the public by big financial interests. Even if you deny climate change effects, when you flush your toilet the waste doesn't go into the river. It's processed. The same should be true with regard to what we do with the air. It's part of the commons and unless you manufacture your own, conserving the quality is a TRUE conservative position!
Second, the bottom line is one of matching the application coupled with high volume production. You match the car to your need and high volume production will reduce the price. It's simple and has been demonstrated ad nauseum!
If the Chrysler chief's statement "It's an electric vehicle that doesn't act like an electric appliance" is true, how come the controls look like those of a blender?
"retro-futuristic design"? Does a picture of George Jetson come standard, or is that an option? Holy cow.
My son just came from the LA auto show yesterday with camera pics of cars like a stunning new Lexus electric and the sexy BMW i8 hybrid. And Chrysler introduces this? I'm underwhelmed. I've seen cuter zits on a hog. The Fiat 500 itself looks like someone did a poor job of photoshopping the BMW Mini. Then they brag about time in a wind tunnel... What direction did the wind blow, I wonder?
Unless the car's price tag is going to be somewhere around free, I'll pass. We've already got an electric skateboard.
I knew a guy who collected Ford Edsel wrecks. I used to be fond of Corvairs. What does that tell you about "taste"? Beautiful sophisticated women may not have a problem with cars that rust out in 2-3 years, like my old Fiat Spring (something like an 850cc motor as I recall) that looked cute, rather like a mini-MG, but couldn't get up a steep hill from a dead stop, and at 3 years old had a rusted-out floorboard. But I don't let supermodels pick out my cars- they don't have to fix them. History will, as always, judge, but Fiat does not seem to have an especially good track record in this country.
Who would buy a 60 mile range car? Many if the fuel price was $.01-.02/mile. Many seniors here in Fla already drive much slower, shorter range EV's very happily at very low cost.
Interestingly the first EV I ever saw was a Fiat 600 conversion back in 64.
Sadly this EV isn't designed to succeed using overpriced, overteched EV drives, batteries when much more cost effective, lighter, more EV subcars is what we really need at $10k they could be produced for if they wanted too.
But they don't and this one is just done as a compliance vehicle, not to succeed.
The one type of vehicle that uses a very small fuel tank is the serious high power dragster, but they usually load about 5 gallons, and burn half of it while starting and staging, and most of the rest during the quarter mile run. Of course, we are talking about an engine that may be delivering over 2000 horsepower and running so very rich that the exhaust is still burning for a few feet out of the pipes. But they don't carry much more fuel than they need. Of course, thier mileage works out to less than 0.125 miles per gallon. Not economy commuter cars.
Twenty months after news leaked about Apple Inc.’s secretive automotive project, the high-tech giant has apparently decided it will not go toe-to-toe with Detroit, leaving few in the Motor City surprised.
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